Cancun Mexican Restaurant is seen Wednesday in downtown Waterville. The state closed the establishment until April 20 because it says the restaurant did not follow COVID-19 protocols. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

WATERVILLE — Cancun Mexican Restaurant is in the midst of a one-week closure for flouting COVID-19 requirements and creating “an imminent health hazard” for patrons and employees. The seven-day suspension runs until April 20 at 10 a.m.

A state health inspector issued a COVID-19 imminent health hazard finding Monday to the Silver Street restaurant, according to documents obtained by the Morning Sentinel. Cancun staff were observed not wearing face coverings, and the restaurant failed to quarantine a sick employee from its workforce while awaiting test results.

“Patrons not seated, allowed to wander and mingle,” the suspension read. “This behavior is encouraged by removal of barstools and dining tables, which is in direct violation of the DECD Seated Food and Drink Service checklist.”

Phone calls to the restaurant were not answered, and ownership could not be reached on social media Wednesday.

According to the COVID temporary suspension, Waterville Police observed Cancun security guards not wearing face coverings on April 9 after 9 p.m. Waterville police observed patrons not being required to wear face coverings upon entry into the restaurant or while moving about during visits on April 9 and 10. Patrons dancing were also observed on those days with no physical distancing in place.

The citation was hand-delivered to Cancun owner Hector Fuentes on April 8 by Maine Department of Health and Human Services/Maine Center for Disease Control inspector Dennis Hedegard. According to the citation, Fuentes agreed to comply with requirements.

In 2014, Fuentes and his brother, Guillermo Fuentes, were sentenced for hiring undocumented aliens at Cancun, Fajita Grill in Westbrook and Cancun II in Biddeford and providing false statements.

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